After pedestrian death, authorities urge caution crossing streets
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The death of a 61-year-old woman crossing a Pima County roadway has left a family in tears, fellow pedestrians on alert and some authorities frustrated.
Susan Melanson was hit by pickup truck and killed Monday night on North Oracle near Rudasill. The Tucson resident crossed in the dark while not in a crosswalk on the busy 45-mile-per-hour roadway northwest of Tucson. Emergency responders say there's a lesson to be learned in pedestrian responsibility--on top of driver responsibility.
Northwest Fire Captain Adam Goldberg said this death could have been prevented. “The difficult situation with this type of incident is that within 400 feet of where this pedestrian crossed the roadway was a lit, marked crosswalk that had traffic lights to assist her in getting across the road safely,” Goldberg told KGUN9 News Monday night. “One poor decision has lead to her death when ten more minutes of walking would've saved her life.”
“We're going to try to continue to get the message out to pedestrians that they need to use crosswalks,” Goldberg later said. “They need to cross at traffic lights that have control devices that help pedestrians make it across the roadway safely or we're going to continue to see these calls with the fatal outcome like we saw tonight.”
Pedestrians near the intersection the next day say the unfortunate event has reaffirmed the necessity to take safety in their own hands. This part of Oracle sees heavy traffic and does not have sidewalks.
“Is there ever a time when you're tempted to cross the street at some point outside of a crosswalk?” reporter Kevin Keen asked Helga Amiot, on her evening stroll. “Yes, I am. I am,” she replied. “Do you?” Keen asked. “I only did it once or twice in the middle of the day but not at night. I'd rather wait five or ten minutes it takes to switch,” she said, referring to crosswalk lights.
“A lot of people like to take a shortcuts, going, 'It's shorter. I can make it,’” said fellow pedestrian Ildefonso Madueno. “But you underestimate how fast a car's going, it's you and them. Who's going to win? The car's going to win.” Madueno pointed out people can still be hit while in crosswalks.
Melanson's family tells KGUN9 the event was tragic and they're saddened over what happened and for the driver involved.
Arizona Department of Public Safety is still investigating the collision and hasn't said what condition the pedestrian or the driver were in that night.